Scott Pianowski

Red-Light District: Chris Osgood, just win baby

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

There were 16 NHL clubs in action Thursday, let's give them an audit from a fantasy perspective.

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Detroit at Edmonton: It was the usual day from Chris Osgood, a couple of shaky moments but he got the win anyway. Despite a 3.29 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage (yikes), he's still 8-1-3 . . . Jiri Hudler (two goals) is a hard player to call because he's always in danger of falling out of the top two lines here. He's on a decent little run of late though (4-5-9 over seven games) so if you need a short-term rental, I'll sign of . . . Niklas Kronwall (ankle) was a game-day scratch and Tomas Holmstrom (back spasms) was scratched after the warm-up. It's a shame on Kronwall because he's been playing terrific hockey of late . . . Dwayne Roloson hit the bench after allowing three goals in 10 minutes. Mathieu Garon (24 saves, one goal) did a much better job, but the Oilers don't play again until Wednesday, so Roloson might be forgiven when they return to the ice . . . Three more power-play goals for the Red Wings, who are now clicking at a ridiculous 34.2 rate with the man-advantage.

Washington at Los Angeles: Erik Ersberg allowed two goals for the fifth straight start (somehow the Kings have managed to lose two of those games). He's in fine form . . . Drew Doughty potted his third of the year and I have to believe there's a Norris Trophy in this kid's future, sometime next decade . . . Don't get all excited over Michal Handzus's two points - they both came on empty-net goals in the final minute. Good work if you can get it, though . . . Patrick O'Sullivan finally scored after 11 dry games, and he looked sharp back on the Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar line. Brown had two points and was tabbed No. 1 star . . A frustrating night for Alexander Ovechkin, held to one point and tagged with a minus-4 rating on the night. At least he gave us a minor penalty on the way out . . . Brooks Laich is probably going to score another quiet 21 goals, just like he did last year. I'd like to see him shoot the puck more often, though (34 shots in 19 games) . . . Mike Green (shoulder) didn't dress for the Caps.

Florida at New Jersey: Brian Gionta is teasing us a little bit with a 2-2-4 run over the last three nights. I'm still trying to figure out how he could score 48 goals in 2005-06, but never top 25 tallies in any other season. If you're got a good theory on this one, throw it at me . . . Scott Clemmensen had one of his better nights, stopping 24 of 25 shots and grabbing his second straight win. He's made three straight starts in the last week, but Kevin Weekes is going to play against the Islanders Friday . . . Patrik Elias didn't do much in October (despite 40 shots), but he's got a tasty 6-4-10 line in nine November starts . . . A point-less night for Nathan Horton, and he's only got four shots over his last four games. Where's the assertive stud we saw in the early part of the season? . . . Tomas Vokoun hasn't been on top of his game lately, but he's also seeing more shots (and more rebounds) than he did in October. His mates only permitted 19 shots Thursday, but all three goals were the fault of the defense, not Vokoun.

Montreal at Ottawa: You catch Carey Price on the right night and you wonder how he ever allows a goal. Terrific glove hand, and he covers so much of the net with that rangy frame . . . Hey, the Canadiens scored a power-play goal, imagine that. Alex Auld helped by letting in a fairly pedestrian shot from Saku Koivu . . . Alexandre Picard grabbed a couple of assists, giving him three points in two games. He's basically skating with the second power-play unit . . . Nick Foligno finally potted his third goal of the year, though he saw just 9:22 of ice time . . . Andrei Kostitsyn put up a bagel for the sixth time in seven starts, and he didn't even have a shot on goal to show for his 13 minutes on the ice.

Chicago at Dallas: Just when you think Marty Turco has turned the corner, the bottom drops out again (five goals on 29 shots). It gets to the point where you expect every 30-foot wrist shot to sneak past him . . . Brenden Morrow was his usual pain in the neck (goal, three shots), but he left the game in the third period with an undisclosed lower-body injury. (Friday Afternoon Update: It's a torn ACL and Morrow is expected to miss six months. Tough hit for Dallas) . . . Nikolai Khabibulin was a little loose with some rebounds, but it's hard to fault a winning effort, with 31 saves, on the road. He's doing all he can to beat out Cristobal Huet . . . Three more points for Kris Versteeg, who sure looks like the real deal (7-12-19). He's just getting complimentary power-play time right now (Chicago obviously is very deep up front), but when you keep scoring, they'll find more opportunities for you . . . Brian Campbell grabbed a power-play goal and an assist, and is quietly up to 4-10-14 through 18 games.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta: Sidney Crosby was terrific (three points, six shots, plus-2), not that you need much proof or talk on that . . . Dany Sabourin stopped 21 of 23 for the win, and he'll probably need to start Saturday against Vancouver because Marc-Andre Fleury isn't healthy yet . . . Ondrej Pavelec (28 saves) couldn't be faulted on the Pittsburgh goals and was wisely tabbed No. 2 star behind Crosby . . . Ilya Kovalchuk had the puck on his stick for much of the night, but deferred too much to his teammates (just three shots). It's nice that you can set up a play, big fellah, but let those shots fly. Sabourin's best stop of the night, for what it's worth, came on a Kovalchuk breakaway . . . Maybe Alex Goligoski plays such a heady game because he's 23 going on 33, at least in his photo.

Vancouver at Minnesota: Pavol Demitra got up to play his former club, picking up a goal and an assist and extending his scoring streak to five games (4-4-8). When he's motivated, this is a star forward . . . Curtis Sanford got his first start in over a month and stopped 28 of 30 shots. Lamont and Grady had to be proud . . . Mikko Koivu potted a pair of goals and you have to love how he's shooting the puck more this season (65 shots in just 17 games). He's capable of making a run at 65-70 points . . . Brent Burns had four shots but didn't figure in the scoring. I'd put him on my buy-low list for now, no matter if he's playing wing or defense (thanks for the heads up, Hakan Loob).

Calgary at Colorado: Miikka Kiprusoff gets the fantasy payoff with the 18-save shutout, but Peter Budaj (32 stops) was even more impressive on the other side of the ice . . . Marek Svatos left the game in the third period with an abdominal injury . . . Mark Giordano picked up an assist and quietly has eight helpers in 20 games. He's also more confident shooting the puck this year (he rattled one off the post Thursday), and in a year or two I could see him making a run at 40 points . . . Joe Sakic (back) didn't play but might go Thursday at Los Angeles.

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